A new kind of conversation about games in culture
I have to say, gear is one of my favorite parallels between gaming and epic. It's definitely one of the strongest connections, I think, since it seems to serve the same purpose in both: making a character more able to win, and making him/her LOOK awesome and more able to win. I find the focus placed on how pretty gear is interesting... especially since I've seen more than one player change gear just because it doesn't look nice or match the rest of their gear. My boyfriend just got new shoulderpads in wow, and he was more excited about the glowing tentacles than the stats! I've also put off buying a helmet or better armor until I could find one with good stats that ALSO looked good - and matched my character's hair.
This has been without question my favorite lecture. As a seasoned gamer I am aware of the importance of loot, and what some silly shield or bow can mean to an avid player of the game. However, what I really liked in the lecture was the last part in which you showed the role of each member of the raid. In almost any multi player game in which cooperation is involved, different players equip themselves with different gear which allows them to play a specific role on the team. I would like to discuss halo when it comes to this. In mass multiplayer games, everyone has more of a defined skill set whether this be a damage dealer, healer, range character, tank, or whatever else you can think of. In halo, your style of play can vary, while players learn which gear suits them best. Teams ideally want a sniper, sword/shotty player, someone with overshield, perhaps a laser, players in vehicles, and also other players who are skilled in combat with weapons like the battle rifle. Everyone wants the best gear in order to get the most kills and help their team. One may not think gear matters much in Halo, but everyone knows how exciting it is when they find a rocker launcher or a shot gun waiting for them. This is some of the finest “gear” that can be found in the game, and walking around demands a certain amount of respect. No one wants to run into another player who has rockets resting atop his shoulder. This idea can be directly applied to the Iliad in scenes of aristeia. When a hero with super gear, such as Achilles’, after Hephaistos equips him is seen on the battle field he is automatically held in respect by all others. No one wants to mess with someone in shiny armor with a sweet looking blade, and looking cool only adds to the cool effect that aristeia scenes already have. Retuning back to games like WOW, in which gear is kept from session to session, players are respected not just by their level, but by their gear. It has apparently always been the same, as the most feared fighters, had the most feared equipment.